Our major gift purchases from our trip to St. Lucia. I continue to buy guinea fowls – they seem to have replaced the raccoon as my favorite animal. I do not think they have raccoons here. We finished another 1500 piece puzzle of the big five – this one we may break down and bring home.
Beautiful day with enough cloud cover to keep the temperature moderate but enough clear blue sky to frame the wonderful landscapes of the area.
After a productive morning of scripture reading and pondering we headed off to DDM at Empangeni. It was an excellent meeting with lots of sharing of ideas and experiences. Before the 4 Esikhawini elders came, Elder Babeeyo talked about how he was mugged just two weeks after getting to Durban. He lost just about everything including his brand new Quad and his shoes. But it did not slow him down and now he can talk about it and smile. Later Elder Wengert complained that he has never been mugged or even threatened so he will not have a good story to tell his children and grandchildren.
I brought up my concern about there being a number of young men who will soon be missionary age but are not inclined to go on a mission. I suggested that the missionaries might take them with them as they teach good investigators and also spend some time telling them about how going on a mission has changed their lives. I am going to try to figure out other ways to raise the desire to serve in more of the young men.
After the meeting we went to Esikhawini and had lunch at KFC. There is one young lady there who knows us well and always smiles when she sees us walk in and waves as we leave. Maybe some day she will ask us about the church.
We spent the better part of an hour with President Malinga talking about lots of different things. As we were leaving I got a commitment from him that he would go home teaching before ThursdayÃ¢Â€Â™s Presidency meeting. I really hope he does it so he can urge the other members of the Presidency to do theirs.
After this meeting we had time to go and visit a couple of sisters. Mary talked to Sister Joyce about Primary and then we talked to sister Ndlovu about painting her living room and arranging for English lessons. She told us that she had a part time house cleaning job for 3 days a week. This was great news as she really needs the income.
Our next meeting was with President Machaka for a PEC. The elders called and said they would not be coming. I was pleased that he had ordered sacrament cups Ã¢Â€Â“ a small thing but he now knows how to order supplies for his branch via the internet. We covered many subjects in a very short time including the branch social they are going to have on Saturday afternoon. We also talked about new callings and other small things that need to be done in the branch. It was the most productive meeting we have had with him.
We left him and drove to Enselini so we could drop off a birthday present for President VilaneÃ¢Â€Â™s youngest sonÃ¢Â€Â™s birthday. We were excited because today is our granddaughter OliviaÃ¢Â€Â™s birthday. However when we got there the Vilanes told us that there was a mistake in the records and his birthday was really the 14th. We gave him the card and candy bar anyway.
We then had a long meeting with President Vilane as he had a lot of questions that came up during the Branch Correlation meeting on Sunday. Most of it had to do with Budgets Ã¢Â€Â“ President Malinga brought up the same subject Ã¢Â€Â“ so we gave him some council and told him to ponder and pray about how much should go to each auxiliary. We also talked about some problems with the Young Women Ã¢Â€Â“ he feels that he needs to hold a special fireside for them about Chastity. Finally there was a discussion about the branch Christmas Party Ã¢Â€Â“ everyone on the council thought it was a great idea and they are going to schedule it for the 13th of December. Before we left we arranged to hold Family Home Evening at their house next Monday Ã¢Â€Â“ Sister Vilane has been trying to get her husband to hold it so hopefully this will get it kick started.
So it was a tired but happy missionary couple who finally drove back to their boarding as the sun was setting.
Today was OliviaÃ¢Â€Â™s 5th birthday so we called and wished her a happy one. Mary actually did all the talking and near the end she mentioned that we were sorry that we could not be at her party. Olivia asked why not and when she was told we were half a world away she realized which Grandma she was speaking to. She thought she was talking to KristyÃ¢Â€Â™s mom in Michigan!
The rest of the evening was quiet and relaxing Ã¢Â€Â“ we needed it.
Over the last few days Kristy and Cindy have posted pictures of their families getting ready for Halloween. We got to see pumpkins being carved in Salt Lake and Chicago as well as the fun costumes that Krista, Tyler, Olivia and Charlotte wore. It is great to be able to see these just hours or days after they were taken 10,000 miles away. It is interesting that while I wish we could be a part of these experiences, the LordÃ¢Â€Â™s tender mercy tells me that we are where we should be and that our family will be blessed as we serve more than if we were with them. I am reminded that in the Eternal Plan of Happiness 18 months is less than a blink of the eye.
I slept in this morning so I had to get up and hurriedly get dressed so I could take the car in to get cleaned. YesterdayÃ¢Â€Â™s traveling over many kilometers of dirt roads laid a new coat of grime over much of the car. So even though the sky looked like rain I took it to Engen Ã¢Â€Â“ the local gas station/car wash/fast food/bakery/grocery store that we visit almost every day – and got it washed and cleaned. There were a number of cars getting cleaned Ã¢Â€Â“ I guess like me they could not stand to drive their dirty cars any longer. The rain held off until I started home in my clean car. When I got home I carefully dried it off with the hope that the rain will stop before we go out.
Our neighbor, Justice, came over and asked if they could finish our yard today. I guess the fact that it was sprinkling was no deterrent to his work. The crew of 3 takes about 90 minutes to do the yard at a cost of about $20. As they were finishing up I talked to Justice about his business Ã¢Â€Â“ he has had it for 6 years Ã¢Â€Â“ and found out he retired from the police in 2003 after 18 years of service. He and his wife would be a great addition to the Richards Bay branch but he does not seem really interested in continuing the missionary lessons.
Mary woke with a headache and a very sore shoulder. We decided it would be best for her to rest until noon and then we would go out and do what we had planned for day.
We bought and delivered a food order out to Port Durnford. As we were leaving the area we saw a non-member who we have been helping and gave her a lift to Richards Bay so she could apply for a job. Since they have very little money this tender mercy from the Lord will allow her family a little more electricity or perhaps a little more food. It also allowed us to let her know we care for her. We often see people who need rides and I am tempted to give them one, but the mission rules say we should not do this and I try not to be disobedient too often. Besides the back seat is usually covered with things we need for the day and so there is no where for them to sit.
After a quick lunch at McDonalds we went to the Meerensee boarding to get some games for our Youth activities and then to Richards Bay chapel so Mary could make lots of copies for the English and piano classes. While she was doing that I made a number of phone calls to try and solve some of the problems that seem to keep popping up.
One of the things that is bothering me is the fact that most of the young men who are either missionary age or approaching missionary age are not really interested in going on a mission. One of them is very talented and a good teacher but he has told his father that he is not interested. I think part of the problem Ã¢Â€Â“ maybe the biggest part Ã¢Â€Â“ is that the families are not holding FHE, Family Prayer, and teaching the gospel in the home.Â Add to that the fact that most homes are not headed by strong Priesthood holders Ã¢Â€Â“ or weak ones for that matter- and it is easy to understand why it will take a while for the tradition of missionary service will take some time to develop.
When Mary finished making copies she said that she had to go home and rest. It turned out that she really was not well. She spent much of the rest of the day sleeping and resting on the couch and bed. Hopefully she will be OK for tomorrow because it is a busy day.
I took advantage of the time to spent over 2 hours on organizing, captioning, and posting pictures.Â
I am afraid this was something like a 1 mite day for us.